Air New Zealand refreshed its safety video once again. And, once again, the move raises questions about just how seriously passengers should be expected to take the performance. Especially given how lightly the airline appears to treat the topic. The new video, riffing on RUN DMC’s It’s Tricky, presents the safety information as a highly choreographed rap video.
The company does a pretty good job adapting some the lyrics to present the necessary safety details. Rather than the traditional carry-on bag stowage admonitions the new version rhymes, “Any loose items be stowed overhead, or under the seat, not under your bed.” Other bits are less clear. And, ultimately, that missing clarity is the problem.
Air New Zealand is not alone in producing such complex versions of the safety videos. Whether it is United Airlines‘s “Safety is Global” campaign or British Airways‘s Comic Relief version, the style is clearly part of the industry today. Air New Zealand continues to push those boundaries, however. It appears that roughly nothing is off limits now. But at what point does it stop being funny and start to become dangerous?
As a native English speaker the content is not entirely clear. For those who are less comfortable with English comprehension will be even lower. And the visual cues used are much harder to process than in traditional versions of the briefings. It is not a couple of light moments to offset the monotony of the script. It is truly a departure from what safety briefings are.
It is easy to argue that no one pays attention to the safety demonstrations and that they are a vestige of a bygone era. But regulators still mandate that they be present and deliver information to passengers about the aircraft. Air New Zealand’s approach is amusing, at least the first time; it is unlikely to wear well. And it technically has the correct verbiage in the script. But those words are lost in the rhymes, the music and the distracting dance sequences.
And, because the original should always be part of any good report: